Monday, October 01, 2007

My Dirty Mind...

....or is it something else?

Now, I work in advertising. Four years ago, I had worked in advertising for three years; now I'm back.

I've always been aware of what I'm looking at when I see an ad. I don't just sort of absorb it, but instead, I analyze it, pick it apart. When I see men and women in an ad, I begin dissecting the sexual, social, or power structure implicit in the ad. Same with class. Same with race.

One of the absolute worst advertisements on television in recent years isn't one of the obvious Big Tittied Blond & Beer ads. Those are crude and overt in their appeals to grunting-level psychology. As such, you can kinda laugh them off.

No, the real worst ad I've seen in some time is for Tide with Bleach. It might be Cheer. Who knows? A detergent with bleach added to its mix.

It starts out innocuously enough, two little boys, one white, one black, out playing in the mud on a rainy kind of day. They are having a blast, throwing mud and rolling around in it.

Cut to a black woman and her daughter, having just as much fun, laughing it up — as they fold the sparkling white laundry they just finished washing in Tide with Bleach.

This ad is all kinds of wrong, a million kinds of wrong, wrong on such a level that it makes me ashamed not only for the advertising business (which is mostly a shameful profession anyway) but ashamed that college-educated people approved such trash, ashamed that humanity is still so shitty.

All of which has nothing to do with the picture I've posted below. But it's an ad, and I've been seeing it ever since I started working downtown again. It's for the RTA bus service and it's another way they're trying to convince people to leave their cars outside the city and commute in. They want you to park at the Snow Road Park 'N' Ride. As such, a noble goal. But the ad cracks me up every time I see it.

I wonder, is it just my dirty mind or is this obviously and blatantly ridiculous? Did no one catch this along the line of conceptualization, copywriting, proofreading, graphic art production, final proofing, and client approval? Were they banking on that connection in people's minds sorta anyway? I mean, half the battle of advertising is to be memorable in a good way or bad way. (See, here, for all you need to know about catchy, but dumb and annoying.)

In that respect, this ad could be hugely successful for RTA.

All I know is that whenever I see it, I just about friggin' die.

Thus for your delectation I present:

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